Instagram says websites may need users’ permission to embed images

Publications have used the embed tool thinking they were safe from copyright concerns

Instagram says that websites may need to get permission from its users before embedding posts onto a webpage.

A spokesperson from the company told Ars Technica that Instagram’s policies “require third parties to have the necessary rights from applicable rights holders. This includes ensuring they have a license to share this content, if a license is required by law.”

This comes as Newsweek is currently being sued for embedding a photographer’s image on its website. The publication stated that the image was not uploaded directly and was instead embedded from Instagram.

Newsweek is arguing that when users agree to Instagram’s terms of service, they are providing the company a copyright license to any images uploaded onto the service. The terms of service also make users agree to sublicense their content to other users. The publication is arguing that the use of the embed tool is covered under the terms of service.

Mashable won a similar case with this same argument, but the judge in the Newsweek case sees the issue a bit differently in regards to what is covered by Instagram’s terms of service.

Instagram’s recent statement makes its policies go in favour of the photographer suing Newsweek. Instagram’s current copyright page states that users have “the right to grant permission to use your copyrighted work, as well as the right to prevent other people from using your copyrighted work without permission.” There isn’t any mention about exceptions for embedded posts.

Instagram told Ars Technica that it is looking to include more ways for users to control who can embed their posts, which would be a win for photographers but bad news for publications.

Up until now, publications and businesses have been embedding posts from Instagram thinking that they are clear of any copyright concerns. This latest development could change this.

Source: Ars Technica, The Verge